#CIHA202400850Le Char à Boeuf : bovins, colonisation et écosystème au Brésil

G. Ecologie et Politique
Making Green Worlds (ca. 1492-1700)
N. Teixeira De Macedo De Lima 1.
1Unicamp-Ehess - Campinas (Brésil)

Adresse email : nerianteixeira@gmail.com (N.Teixeira De Macedo De Lima)


Sujet en anglais / Topic in english

Sujet de la session en français / Topic in french

Texte de la proposition de communication en français ou en anglais

In a letter to King Manuel on May 1, 1500, Pero Vaz de Caminha announced his first impressions of the land that would come to be called Brazil. The sender reports to the king the absence of fields and livestock: “there are no oxen or cows, goats, sheep or chickens here, or any other animal that is accustomed to the life of man”. The first cattle species arrived in Brazil in 1533, on the expedition of Martins Alfonso de Souza. By the end of the 16th century, brought by Portuguese and Dutch colonizers, the Brazilian landscape was already marked by the presence of bovines. In 1664, Frans Post painted Le Char à boeuf. Paysage brésilien (Musée du Louvre) which, in addition to the enslaved black men, brings into play the sugar production cycle and the bovine-drawn transportation system developed by Europeans who settled in Brazil. Livestock farming, together with the exploitation of the land through sugarcane farming, are the hallmarks of an extractive colonization that modified the local fauna and flora, as well as dispossessing ancestral peoples of their knowledge and ways of life.

This proposal focuses on the group of animals represented by Post in Le Char à boeuf  aims to answer the question: How does the inclusion of oxen, a non-native species, contribute to the implementation of the colonial exploitation project and landscape control? For Walker (2013), without the active investment of oxen and cows, the colonial empire would not have been built. The author also suggests that oxen, among other species, defeated the indigenous fauna and served in the European conquest of the so-called “New World”. In this way, Le Char à boeuf announces the economic activity of cattle ranching that will be responsible, among other things, for the destruction and control of the local landscape and will become established in the country. Today, according to Brazilian government surveys, cattle total around 218 million animals, which exceeds the number of inhabitants in the country.

In this regard, the discussion that this proposal wishes to present is divided into two parts: i) The painting Le Char à boeuf and the role of oxen in the construction of the colonial project ii) the perpetuation of the species and decolonial strategies for dealing with it. To this end, the discussion draws on the propositions of Walker (2013), Despret (2014), Latour (2014), Ferdinand (2019), Curtin (2005), among others. 


BRIENNER, R. P. Visions of Sacage Paradise: Albert Eckhout, Court Painter in Colonial Dutch Brazil. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2006

CURTIN, Philip D. The Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex: Essays in Atlantic History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998

DESPRET, V. Que diraient les animaux, si... on leur posait les bonnes questions? Paris: La Découverte Poche, 2014.

FERDINAND, M. Une écologie décoloniale: penser l'écologie depuis le monde caribéen. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2019.

LATOUR, B. Agency at the Time of the Anthropocene. New Literary History, v. 45, n. 1, p. 1-18, 2014. URL: doi:10.1353/nlh.2014.0003

LINHARES, M. Y. L. Pecuária, Alimentos e Sistemas Agrários no Brasil séculos XVII e XVIII. Tempo: Revista do Departamento de História da UFF. Rio de Janeiro: UFF, v. 1, n. 2, 1996. p. 132-150

PATRIZIO, A. The ecological eye: assembling an ecocritical art history. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018

VIEIRA, D. de S. L. Topografias imaginárias: a paisagem política do Brasil Holandês em Frans Post, 1637-1669. 2010. Tese (Doutorado em humanidades) - Leiden, 2010. URL: https://scholarlypublications.universiteitleiden.nl/access/item%3A2933193/download.

WALKER, B. L. Animals and the Intimacy oh History. History and Theory, v. 52, n. 4, p.45–67, 2013. URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24542958.

CV de 500 signes incluant les informations suivantes: Prénom, nom, titre, fonction, institution

Nerian Teixeira de Macedo de Lima is a PhD student in Art History at University of Campinas (UNICAMP/ Brazil) and École de Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS/France). She develops the research “Between shadows and silences: Lucy Citti  Ferreira and Yolanda Mohalyi” with São Paulo Research Foundation support.

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6810-424X
LATTES: http://lattes.cnpq.br/5740399101990935

Résumé / Abstract

Basée sur le tableau Le Char à Bœuf de Frans Post, cette présentation souhaite répondre à la question suivante : comment la présence des bovins, une espèce non-autochtone, contribue-t-elle à la mise en œuvre du projet d'exploitation coloniale et au contrôle du paysage au Brésil ? La discussion est divisée en deux parties : i) Le Char à Bœuf et le rôle des animaux dans la construction du projet colonial ; ii) la perpétuation de l'espèce et les stratégies décoloniales pour y faire face. Pour ce faire, la discussion s'appuie sur les propositions de Walker (2013), Despret (2014), Latour (2014), Ferdinand (2019) et Vanhaelen (2024).